Young players shine in 2nd scrimmage

As fall camp ends and game preparation begins, Alabama’s youth movement scored some big gains in the second and last scrimmage.(CLICK HERE FOR SCRIMMAGE STATS)

“There was a huge difference in some of the young players from last week to this week, and I think that is going to be helpful to us from a depth standpoint,” Alabama head football coach Nick Saban said following the Saturday scrimmage.

Julio Jones caught five passes for 125 yards, B.J. Scott caught five passes for 56 yards, Chris Jackson grabbed three passes for 60 yards. And while Mark Ingram only rushed the ball seven times for 30 yards, Saban said Ingram had made an impact in fall camp.

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“Mark’s doing very well. He has been really consistent in practice,” Saban said. “He is a good receiver. He is a good blocker. He is a good runner. He has some juice to make big plays with his speed.”

Saban has a long relationship with the Ingram family. He has known them since Mark Ingram’s dad was a senior in high school. That was back when Saban was an assistant coach and handling various coaching responsibilities including academic oversight. The home visit to Ingram was a chance to renew an old relationship. Mark Sr.’s wife knew Saban from phone calls made to fetch Mark Sr. to class.

How’s the offense?
Saban continues to look for consistency on offense, but said the team made some big plays.

“The good news is we made some big plays on offense today, John Parker was pretty precise with the ball, didn’t throw any interceptions, didn’t turn it over,” Saban said.

Wilson was 14 of 25 for 255 yards and 2 touchdowns. According to Saban, he had no turnovers. Behind Wilson, Greg McElroy was 19 of 38 for 198 yards. McElroy is the clearn number two at this point. Behind McElroy, the team continues to have a competition for the slot between three players including Star Jackson.

Jackson had approximately 20 snaps during the scrimmage today.

“He is doing a good job,” Saban said.

How’s the defense?
The defense is progressing, but surrendered a few big plays during the scrimmage—that is something Saban wants eliminated. Some of the young players like Don’ta Hightower and Jerrell Harris were singled out for praise following the scrimmage.

“Defensively, I thought we played better in this scrimmage,” Saban continued. “We were more consistent. We did give up a couple of big plays and that’s something we always want to guard against. The defense played well in the red area and played well on third down. If you play well in the red area and play well on third down and don’t give up big plays, then all of a sudden you become hard to score on. That’s something that we continue to improve on. I don’t think the ones (first team defense) gave up but one big play, but that is one too many. That’s something that we have to continue to work on.”

And one big contributor in the middle of the defense is Terrence Cody. Cody is a massive guy who currently tops the scales at 365 lbs. That is in the range where the staff wants him. Saban said he must continue to work on his conditioning so he can “sustain.”

“He has made a significant improvement in his weight management and discipline,” Saban said. “He is a prescence in the middle. He can push the pocket. He is difficult to block.”

What this team needs…
Saban said he likes the togetherness, chemistry and attitude of this year’s team. However, he is still waiting on leadership to emerge. He said the team needs more assertiveness from group leaders.

Charlie Higgenbotham pulled a groin muscle in practice and did not scrimmage today. Josh Chapman sprained a knee. Chapman should be back by Tuesday. Saban said it was not a serious injury.